The 1st Sandstone Scout Group in Cheshire organised and took part in the 5th annual Beeston hike at the end of June to raise funds for Children on the Edge.
The Beavers, aged 6 and 7 from Sandstone Scout Group were joined by Beavers from Cestrian, 42nd Chester and 1st Tarporley Scout Groups - a total of 103 young people on a 6 mile hike along the Sandstone Trail from Bikerton Hill to Beeston Castle.
The young people, their leaders, families and friends all stopped for a picnic lunch in Bulkeley Woods before continuing to Beeston Castle. On arrival the young people had free admission to Beeston Castle where they continued their good deeds by rescuing and guarding a Peregrine Falcone until a keeper arrived to help.
“The children deserved a prize for just turning up” said Beaver Leader Marcus Morris. “We assembled in a torrential downpour which was enough to deter even hardy adults, but the children weren’t daunted, and as soon as we set off the rain stopped and we even saw some sun later in the day.”
We are really pleased to hear that by taking part in the hike, the young people not only raised valuable funds for Children on the Edge but they also earned the International Partnership Award and an Explore Badge. Their adventure also gained them points towards the Friendship Challenge Badge and the Community Challenge.
The funds they have raised will go a long way towards helping those vulnerable children around the world who we work closely with. An example of one of our projects is in Kachin State, Burma. Here we provide vital aid, warm blankets and clothes, daily nutritious snacks, early childhood development and trauma support for 1440 displaced children. Our centres are open 5 days a week which enables caregivers to spend a few hours of each day working in the fields to provide shelter and food for their families while their children are in a safe environment.
We would like to say an enormous thank you to the Beaver Scouts for completing the hike and raising the huge sum of £1650. We’d also like to thank the leaders for giving up their time to organise and take part in the event and all the friends and families who so willingly donated.
A few weeks back our director Rachel joined the Child Friendly Space team from ADSN in Soweto to talk through the various successes and challenges that the project is facing at the moment. It was a great chance for the team to get away together and give some focus to many questions that have arisen over the term and come up with some effective ways forward.
All feedback has shown that the Community Child Protection Committee is doing incredibly well. Initially households in the community did not always welcome the group’s intervention, but through the building of relationship they are now highly regarded and trusted.
The community now work hand in hand with the committee identifying child abuse and domestic violence cases, and the Committee’s confidence has grown in the referral of cases as they have become familiar with the appropriate channels. Staff have started to notice a difference in the young people that come to the resource centre from Soweto. They are supported and counselled by the CCPC and it has made a huge difference to their behaviour and conduct.
The next step will be a refresher for staff on counselling training and play therapy.
Vegetables grown through the agriculture scheme have been bountiful, significantly increasing the amount of nutrition in the meals for the children. The actual budget for food at the centre has not been greatly impacted by this production though. This is because although the team no longer have to buy greens for the children, the saving in real terms is minimal as vegetables are not that expensive.
The real cost of the food budget is the posho (a dish of maize flour cooked with water to a porridge). For this reason they have received more land from the Parish so they can grow staples such as maize, beans, sweet potato and cassava. With the extra land different vegetables will also be grown such as egg plants and beetroot, french beans and chinese cabbage.
These crops will not only be more nutritious for the children but will also fetch a better price when sold, having an effect on the second quarter of this year’s budget.
Grandparent headed households
Again, some of the problem solving here is related to the value of vegetables. Many grandmothers in the area have been supported by the project's income generating schemes, whereby they are given green leaves from the land to sell on their doorsteps. These have not been that successful so far, as people don’t tend to buy from houses. Roving hawkers sell the leaves and the grandmothers can’t compete as they are not mobile.
An idea was suggested for something that grandmothers could sell from their doorsteps that is not perishable like charcoal. This is something the team will be researching over the coming months. In addition to this they will ensure that children of grandparent headed households are given priority at the Child Friendly Space, and that young people from these households are referred to vocational training in order to bring revenue to the households. Sadly many of these Grandparents are looked down on in the community. In response to this, the team will be focussing on empowering these Grandmothers and helping to give them a voice by involving them in decision making.
Another big focus of the workshops was extending services to nearby areas, an exciting turn of events which we will keep you updated on! Just watch this space.
Find out more about the project in Uganda and consider donating.
Recently our hero Charlie Meyrick has run an astounding 100 miles in a day, raising an equally astounding £4440 so far for our work.
Charlie completed the SDW100 which is a one hundred mile race taking in the entire South Downs Way national trail, starting in Winchester and ending in Eastbourne with a total elevation of 12,700 feet. He did an amazing job and achieved the ‘One Day Running Buckle’ awarded to those who finish the race in under 24 hours!
Here Charlie writes about the day:
“One hundred miles is a long way to drive and its one hell of a long way to run!
As I sat in the car at 4.00am on Saturday 14th of June with the rain hammering down around me I wondered for the thousandth time what had ever made me believe that I was capable of running 4 marathons in one day.
The truth is my ego had put me in this spot. 6 years previously I had given up smoking and taken up running. After a few months with a 5km fun run in the bank a new challenge was required, naturally it had to be bigger and better than the last, a 10km followed, then came the first 10 miler followed by the half marathons, the full marathons, the first 50 mile ultra, 100km, the 120km alpine ultras and then here we were toeing the starting line of one of the UK’s toughest and most iconic races, SDW100. 100 miles to cover, 12,800 feet to climb and 96 gates and stiles to negotiate inside the 30 hour cut off.
The fear of failure had haunted me for weeks, was I fit enough? My last 50 miler in April had gone according to plan but on my last big training run 3 weeks before the wheels had fallen off after 30 miles and my long suffering wife had been scrambled to scoop me up off the downs. Had I eaten enough and drunk enough? Ultimately I would drink over 20 litres of water during the race, burn 18,000 calories and eat my own bodyweight in my youngest sons’ delicious homemade brownies.
Many, many people had been very generous with their time, their sponsorship and their support; it was time for me to deliver.
By 6.00am the rain had stopped and the sun was putting in an appearance as 300 runners set off from Chilcomb Sports Ground Winchester, destination Eastbourne. I had three lucky breaks on the day, the first was the fine weather, the second was the most refreshing downpour and the third was a running mate in the shape of local ultra-marathon runner Gareth Fish.
The first five miles passed in a flash as we climbed up onto the South Downs and across the top of Cheesefoot Head, the giant natural amphitheatre where Eisenhower had addressed his troops. By 7.45am we were through the first 10 mile checkpoint and running through some of the most stunning scenery that England has to offer.
Soon we were heading towards Queen Elizabeth Country Park at mile 22 and the first opportunity to meet up with my support crew in the shape of my little brother Hugo and his sidekick Larry with a boot load of spare kit, food, water and hydration supplements. Both had kindly crewed for me in the Alps last year so were well versed in the fine art of crewing. We climbed out of the valley the other side of the park listening to Hugo’s telephoned excuses as to why it was in fact the sat nav’s fault that we would have to run a little further before my stocks could be replenished!
By midday we had covered well over 30 miles and the temperature was beginning to get a little uncomfortable, remembering to take the electrolyte replacement tabs was going to be the name of the game. The stretch between Harting and Bignor Hill is surely the most beautiful part of the South Downs Way with seemingly endless views beyond Midhurst on the left and over the Channel to the Isle of Wight on the right. It is also my home territory being close to home and part of the trail that I have run hundreds of times.
By mid-morning Hugo and Larry has caught up with the race and their presence at the checkpoints was a huge lift to the spirits. I had given Hugo the keys to the family Land Rover and during the course of the day and night they made it their mission to cut the trail at places that certainly didn’t appear on any maps.
As we crested Bury Hill at mile 45 we were met by the sight of the darkest cloud rumbling towards us from the direction of Amberley, a few minutes later the heavens opened and delivered the most welcome shower of all time. 10 minutes later the rain stopped and we pressed on towards Washington and the half way mark, our clothing and packs were soaked. They would soon dry out but critically the rain had lowered our core body temperatures making the afternoon session considerably more comfortable.
Physiologically the halfway marker is a huge milestone, the point where you can start counting down the miles, we passed through Washington at mile 54 in good spirits and picked up our mandatory night gear including head torches and spare batteries.
I was still running with Gareth, a man I had never met before but had found myself chatting to at the start 10 hours earlier, we would still be chatting away when we reached Eastbourne later that night.
The next few hours passed without event and we got to Clayton Windmills at mile 70 for what we thought was our last rendezvous with my crew and family before the night leg. As it turned out the ‘terrible twins’ decided to see it through to the end if I bought them a curry – seemed like a fair deal!
The last 15 miles of the course includes some of the toughest climbs on the whole trail. We left the checkpoint at Southease at mile 84 beginning to feel the effects of our ordeal, blisters on blisters and legs that were beginning to push back.
We reached the village of Alfriston at just after 1 o’clock on Sunday morning and at that point with 8 miles to go we knew we were going to finish, pure adrenaline carried us the last few miles, all the aches and pains disappeared as we felt stronger and stronger the nearer we got to our goal.
The trail ends 2 miles above Eastbourne, its then a long downhill into the town and into the athletics stadium and a victory lap around the 400 metre track before crossing the line to the finish. Even at 3 o’clock in the morning there was a decent crowd gathered around the finish including of course the terrible twins!
I had run 100 miles in 21 hours and 27 minutes to finish in 48th place.
The following Saturday I returned to the downs and ran in the South Downs Marathon.
I’m delighted to have been able to use the event to raise money for Children On The Edge, a charity that continues to do incredible work, giving hope and help to some of the most disadvantaged children in often forgotten corners of the earth. I hope I can help again in the future as they are a cause well worth going the extra mile for.”
We’d like to express the hugest amount of thanks possible to Charlie for taking on this Herculean challenge for us, as well as our congratulations for such an incredible achievement!
Last weekend, James and Will from Cranleigh Preparatory School cycled from the doors of their school, 32 miles to Shoreham Beach to raise money for our projects.
The boys had decided that before they left school they wanted to raise some money, mark the occasion and leave with a bang. Children on the Edge had become close to their hearts as we are currently charity of the year at Cranleigh Prep and they the students have been learning all about us and our work.
After finishing their common entrance exams and enjoying a well-earned week away in Cornwall the boys set off from the front entrance of Cranleigh prep school on a beautiful sunny day. After 32 miles and an average speed of 9.2 mph they both arrived at Shoreham Beach.
James and Will have managed to raise £291.25 so far, smashing their target of £200, and you can still donate on their JustGiving page. We would like to say a huge thank you, for not only raising money for us but also for your passion and enthusiasm in thinking of and carrying out a challenge to help vulnerable children around the world.
The wonderful students and staff at Cranleigh Prep have been very busy this term so watch this space for more stories!